Slashing the health risks of smoking with Stoptober

Stoptober - the NHS campaign to get smokers to consider quitting – is back for another year.

The annual October event aims to highlight the risks of smoking and encourage those who indulge in the habit to stub it out, by setting a month-long challenge while providing help, support, and guidance.

At Blue Horizon, we’re big fans of this campaign. It’s well known that smoking has a negative impact on our health. From increased risk of heart attacks, stroke and cancers to a greater chance of impotency, there are so many reasons to stop smoking.

Every year around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking, with many more living with long-term smoking-related illnesses. It’s a sobering statistic that helps highlight how important it is to try and quit.

For Stoptober, we’re taking a closer look at some of the key risks associated with smoking, as well as how quickly you can see improvements to your health when you stop.

Stoptober - stop smoking

"With GP waiting times increasing in many practices, and appointments for non-urgent care more difficult to access, private blood testing is becoming a common alternative for many people looking to take control of their health.”

Common health problems associated with smoking

As we mentioned, there are lots of health problems that can be linked to smoking. Some of the most common, and also, most preventable when you give up the cigarettes, are:

  • Cancer

Smoking causes around 7 out of every 10 cases of lung cancer. But it’s not only the lungs which can be impacted by this bad habit. Smoking can do damage to a range of areas in the body, including:

  • bladder
  • bowel
  • cervix
  • kidney
  • larynx
  • liver
  • mouth
  • stomach
  • oesophagus
  • throat

It’s quite a daunting list, but it’s well worth being aware of all the areas which can be impacted by smoking when it comes to cancer.

  • Cardiovascular disease

Smoking causes damage to the heart and blood circulation. This increases the risk of:

Cerebrovascular disease (damage to the arteries that bring blood to the brain)

Heart attack

Heart disease

Peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels)


  • Lung diseases

Naturally, the act of smoking pulls harmful chemicals into the lungs which can cause a range of short and long-term damage and disease, such as bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Smoking can also worsen the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma.

  • Sexual health and fertility

As smoking can restrict blood supply, it can cause impotence in men due to reduced blood flow "down below". It can also reduce fertility both in men and women.

How soon can you notice a difference to your health after quitting?

While the risks associated with smoking are quite scary, the good news is that quitting can have a huge positive impact on your health. The sooner you quit, the sooner you'll notice positive changes to your body and health. Here are some of the changes you can expect over time.

After 48 hours

Your body works to flush out the carbon monoxide. As your lungs clear out the mucus you begin to regain your sense of taste and smell.

After 2 – 12 weeks

Blood is able to pump more effectively around your body thanks to improved circulation.

After 3 – 9 months

You may notice breathing problems, wheezing and coughs improving as your lung function increases.

After 1 year

After 12 months your risk of heart attack drops by 50%

After 10 years 

After a decade of not smoking, your risk of lung cancer halves

Considering quitting? Find out just how much difference it makes to your health

If you’re considering quitting smoking and are wondering about your current health profile, blood testing is a great option. It can give you a snapshot of your health and wellbeing, flagging any issues and deficiencies you need to keep an eye on.

It’s also a good idea if you want to be able to track the changes over time once you’ve quit smoking. Testing again after 12 months can show how much your health has improved and is a great monitor to help you continue the good work. Our range of comprehensive health check tests can provide the information you need.

Booking your private blood test at a local clinic

We make sure the experience of booking a private blood test is as easy, convenient, and painless as possible. By partnering with Spire Healthcare, we make the process simple and seamless by offering easy-to-book appointments at your local Spire Hospital. Here’s how it works:

After you have selected the right test for you, simply order online through our secure payment system or chat to a member of our team. Once your order is placed, you’ll receive all the information you need to arrange your convenient blood draw appointment at one of our Spire Hospital locations.

How your appointment works 

We partner with Spire Healthcare to offer a professional phlebotomy service. This guarantees that your blood samples are taken and handled correctly and that your results are processed efficiently by clinical professionals. Our confidential blood examinations are available at over thirty private clinics around the UK.

At your appointment, the friendly team will talk to you about your test, collect your blood sample and send it off for testing at an accredited partner laboratory. All you need to do is arrive for your appointment. We’ll take care of the test, and the rest.

Find out more

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